Decades of research have shown that corn yield potential can be reduced when corn is grown in the same fields in succeeding years, as compared to rotated acres. Any fields that are continually used to grow corn should have good drainage and fertility, along with low compaction problems and disease pressure. It is possible, however, to maintain high yields in continuous corn systems, as long as the following issues are addressed:
- Corn residue: Healthy corn crops are likely to leave increased amounts of residue, which can present a problem for next year’s crop in soil fertility and in plant emergence and establishment. Intense tillage or strip-tillage can help address this.
- Soil fertility: Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium should be maintained at optimum levels. Maintaining adequate levels of nitrogen in particular can be difficult in continuous corn systems, due to microbes in corn residue.
- Product selection: Your co-op can help you choose the right Channel product for maximum protection against insects and disease.
- Disease and insect control: Anytime you plant the same crop the following year, increased problems with disease and insects are to be expected. Fungicides and seed treatments can help address these issues.
- Weed control: In continuous corn systems, there are fewer good choices for herbicides, and corn residue can reduce their effectiveness. Timing of herbicide application and control of volunteer corn is particularly important.
For a more detailed discussion of this topic, download this PDF from Channel.